Everyone should wear a mask when out in public and when you are not able to socially distance. There, I said it. So did Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. So did Gov. Asa Hutchinson, and surprisingly so did Fox News. Mike Pence wore one last Sunday. The only person not willing to wear a mask is President Donald Trump. 

Wearing a mask to protect others should not be a political issue or a political statement. It’s more about common sense and respect for your fellow citizen.

Currently, the number of cases of coronavirus in Northwest Arkansas is increasing. In fact, this area has one of the highest rates of increase in the country. One way to protect others and to protect ourselves is to wear a mask.  If you want to make a political statement, have it printed on your mask. 

I’m healthy. I run, workout or walk at least two miles every day. If I were to get the virus, I feel like I have a good chance of recovering. Not so with some of my relatives or friends, including my mom who I have haven’t seen since March. That’s the reason I wear a mask.  

Recently, the cities of Fayetteville, Bella Vista and Little Rock, just to name a few, have required their citizens to wear a mask in public. Sponsors of those measures say they are not meant to be punitive but rather protective. 

    In fact, nine mayors from Northwest Arkansas sent a letter to Gov. Hutchinson on Monday asking the governor to tighten restrictions in order to curb the spread of the disease. The letter read in part, “We are requesting stronger guidance and directives applicable to businesses and public spaces to require the wearing of masks, to create public distancing and prevent large gatherings in Northwest Arkansas.” 

The nine mayors signing the letter were from Farmington, Elkins, Elm Springs, Goshen, Johnson, Greenland, Lincoln, West Fork and Tontitown. Meanwhile, Huntsville Mayor Darrell Trahan remains silent and MIA.  

I’m glad to see cities take initiatives to protect their citizens. No one disputes that wearing a mask decreases the chances of spreading the disease. 

Many businesses are happy too to have their leaders offer encouragement for wearing masks. They would rather have a uniform policy in the city for their customers, creating less chance of people being mad at the business. 

We reached out to Mayor Trahan to ask what his intentions were regarding asking citizens to wear a mask, what his thoughts were on other cities passing resolutions to wear one and his personal thoughts on wearing a mask. We asked him also what measures he planned to implement to keep Huntsville’s citizens safe in response to the recent spike in cases.  We wish we could give you more information on what his thoughts and leadership were on these important issues of public health, but his answer was a simple, “Sorry, no comment.”

We do want to thank our city council members for stepping up and passing a measure that will help businesses this year. Brandi Holt, the city’s economic director, brought up a great idea to the city council a couple of months ago asking the city to waive business license fees to help businesses, many of whom are struggling during this pandemic. Letters went out to local businesses this week letting them know to renew their license and stating the fee would be waived. Last year, the city collected $8,400 in business license fees. 

Kudos and thank you to Brandi for coming up with the idea and seeing it through to help our local businesses.